Postmaster: Railing curtails hazardous situation

The yellow railings along the west edge of the Princeton Post Office parking lot were recently put up because of a “hazardous situation,” according to Princeton Postmaster Arlene Duenow.

The railings prevent vehicles from being driven between the parking lot and the alley just west of the lot.

The hazardous situation, Duenow said, had to do with some drivers entering the parking lot from Rum River Drive and driving west across the parking lot to the mail drop box in the alley to insert mail, and then making a U-turn. Those drivers would then drive back east across the lot and out, Duenow said.

Some of her employees complained about that being a hazard to them when they were in the lot.

When the complaints from postal employees grew, Duenow made some calls, and representatives of the Princeton city public works department and from the Postal Service office in Minneapolis came to check out the situation. The recommendation that came out of that visit was to put up the barrier, Duenow said.

Duenow added that the mailbox along the west edge of the alley has been hit multiple times by vehicles. It “crushed the box’s snorkel,” Duenow noted.

The snorkel is the part that projects out from the box that a person drops their letters into, she explained. Duenow indicated that there wouldn’t have been any such damage to the drop box had drivers not been making the big U-turn to pass by the drop box. The intent of having the drop box there is for drivers to go north on that one-way alley, drop in their mail and then continue straight down the alley to exit at the end, Duenow said.

Since the barriers were put up, there has been an increase in drivers turning into the private business parking lot just north of the post office parking lot, Duenow added.

Many have asked why the barriers are there and once post office staff members have explained the reasons the inquirers are all right with it, Duenow said.

It was just a case of “too much traffic used incorrectly in the parking lot,” she said, adding that there were “several near incidents of employees getting hit” prior to the  barriers going up. Duenow characterized the situation as “an accident about to happen.”